Makgadikgadi water provision – protection of wildlife corridors
The Makgadikgadi Pans are partly located in the Kalahari Basin and cover an area of 12,000 km2. According to the 2004 census of the Department of Wildlife and National Park, a total of 149 elephants, 1,717 gemsbok, 216 giraffe, 95 hartebeest, 514 kudu, 1,054 ostrich, 162 springbok, 324 ibex, 4,609 wildebeest, 11,083 zebra and 442,851 flamingos live in this area. Therefore, this area experiences an enormous influx of tourists who come to explore this beautiful nature with its wildlife.
A total of about 11,000 people also live in the Wildlife Management Area, as well as in the villages of Phuduhudu, Motopi, Moreomaoto, Gweta and Zoroga. SAVE is already active for children and young people in Gweta and Moreomaoto. The next stage of expansion is to take place in Phuduhudu.
In order to protect the long-established wildlife corridor in northern Botswana, Okavango Delta and Makgadikgadi Pan, SAVE Botswana Headquarters Maun entered into a partnership with the Department of Wildlife and National Parks. This project is mainly concerned with preserving and optimising the wildlife corridors between the national park protected areas. To this end, artificially created water points, which have been dormant for 10 years, will be equipped and put back into operation.
With the first water point, an 80 km long game corridor was revived, which offers wild animals the possibility to reach the adjacent national park. This will reduce the human-animal conflict faced by communities in the vicinity of the park. Many elephants and other wildlife are now invading community areas in search of water, causing dangerous encounters. The borehole and water point were put back into operation at the end of August 2020.
The work focused on cleaning, re-piping, covering the wellhead, replacing the 1,000 metre pipeline between the well and the water point, registering the well, installing a new solar-powered high-efficiency well pump and a solar-powered electric fence to protect the equipment around the well.
Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, necessary material arrived later than originally promised due to cross-border regulations. The SAVE and DWNP team equipped the borehole to pump water to the water point. The aim is to return the animals to the designated wildlife areas in this way to reduce conflict in the areas of the surrounding communities.
SAVE's mission is to create and maintain corridors along the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR), Makgadikgadi Pans Game Reserve, Nxai National Park, Okavango Delta and in the northern area around Chobe National Park. The population in these areas is involved in the project, as their needs must be taken into account. The communities are also supported in their search for alternative and attractive sources of income, such as activities in the field of ecotourism, as well as in the creation and implementation of our "Education 4 Conservation" pre-school kindergarten.
For surveillance and monitoring, some camera traps were set up at specific locations around the watering place. In this way, valuable information can be gathered about the type and size of the populations that come to the watering place to drink. It will be possible to determine at a later stage to what extent the corridor is reused by the water provided in the area. Members of the SAVE/DWNP team will regularly check the cameras, record data and compile up-to-date information for reporting.
Due to the Covid 19 pandemic and delays in material supply and delivery, the project was completed at the end of August 2020 and has been successfully handed over to DWNP Maun.